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Research: Organic more healthy?

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Biggest research project on health effects of organic nutrition

The Dutch research project Organic More Healthy? A search for biomarkers´(2005-2007) is the biggest intervention study conducted so far on the health effects of organic products. In this study, researchers compared the health fo chickens raised on organically produced feed to chickens raised on conventionally produced feed. Specifically, they looked at the physical condition and behaviour of the chickens after an immune challenge. Although the two types of feed were found to be comparable in terms of metabolisable energy, clear differences were detected between the two types of animals.

Chickens raised on organic feed stronger and more resilient

The study, wich was conducted by the Louis Bolk Institute in collaboration with Wageningen UR, RIKILT and TNO, revealed that chickens raised on organic feed appeared stronger and more resilient. Following the immune challenge, they showed a more alert immune response and a better recovery, regaining their growth more quickly than chickens raised on conventional feed. The study included immunological tests, metabolomics, genomics and post-mortem evaluation methods. The scientific results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The report, together with the summary in Dutchhas been presented to the former Dutch minister of Agriculture Gerda Verburg.

Studying health effects of organic products is useful

Consumers expect organic products to be healthier because the organic production system is considered healthier. Therefore it is useful to invest in research comparing the health effects of organic versus conventional products. This innovative study aimed to identify 'biomarkers of health' that enable future intervention studies with human subjects. Within this framework, the Louis Bolk Institute carried out a cohort study among children consuming chiefly organic (rather than conventional) dairy products. For more information, please read our Koala project.
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Inge Boers, arts

Health and Nutrition